By Angela

How Vodka Got His Name

It had been a while after my husband left us. One of the places I took my children for a fun, inexpensive outing was a bird store. These people really knew about birds and created a lively, stimulating environment both for the birds and people wanting to learn about them. It was fascinating just walking around the store watching and listening to the birds, many of whom were walking around on the tops of their cages, talking and singing to each other, the employees and people visiting the store.

I was intrigued by the intelligence and personalities of the birds at this pet shop. It was not that these birds were more intelligent than others, it was that they were in an environment where their intelligence and personalities flourish.

My husband’s separation from us, left us with too much sorrow. A comical baby Black-headed Caique caught my attention. After an employee told me about these “clowns” of the bird family, I thought we could use come comedy relief and took this little bird home.

We observed him curiously for days waiting for just the right name to come to us. One day we watched him as he sat on his perch, looking down at the bottom of his cage. He seemed to be wondering, “How do I get down there?”

All of a sudden, he fell from his perch and lay on the bottom of the cage on his back with his feet up in the air. I held my breath, wondering if he was okay. He laid there for several minutes and would then get up and start hopping around or climb up the side of his cage back to his perch….only to repeat his performance.

I called the pet store and described the behavior to them. I wondered if he was having some kind of seizure. The woman assured me that he was just fine. She shared with me that another Caique owner called frantically several times because she was sure that her new pet had a heart attack and died. It, too, would lie on its back with feet up in the air on the bottom of the cage. After several minutes of watching and waiting, the bird would “right” itself and be perfectly fine.

Since this behavior brought up imagery that our little bird looked like he had a “little too much to drink,” we dubbed him with the name, Vodka.

© Angela Cramer, 2008


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